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The Gardens Team: Winter Update

25 January 2022 / Lifestyle / Garden /

The grounds of The Grove are always kept in immaculate condition, with perfectly trimmed borders, neatly clipped hedges, the careful cultivation of the woodland and Jemima’s Kitchen Garden in a constant state of fabulous bloom. We can only thank our wonderful Gardens Team for this, who work tirelessly every single day. So we caught up with Gardens Supervisor, Abby Evans, to find out what the team have been getting up to over the winter months…

Asher’s Woodland

“Most of the team have been working hard in the woodland this month, building and maintaining existing faggots. These deadwood faggots create a habitat for lots of wildlife including many mammals and invertebrates that are crucial for a healthy ecosystem. The faggots also provide natural barriers and pathways throughout the woodland.”

Abby continues “We’ve also spent time coppicing hazel, willow and various other tree species. The wood that we coppice in our woodland and wetlands gets used throughout the gardens in the form of climbing supports and structures. We even make our raised bed hurdles from the coppiced wood. By doing this we are supporting wildlife, creating glades allowing the light to penetrate the woodland floor to support a diverse range of native species to grow. This constant regeneration can also help to lengthen the lifespan of the tree too. This work is carried out in the winter months when it is cold and grey. It is physical but the reward is the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing our part to contribute in a positive way to the delicate ecosystem. This is also the time when plants are in their dormant stages too and we can avoid disturbing any nesting birds in the spring.”

Jemima’s Kitchen Garden

Jemima's Kitchen Garden Flowers

As always, we are extremely interested in what’s happening over at Jemima’s Kitchen Garden… “January is the time that we prune our fruit trees. The lack of leaves means that we can see the structure of the tree which allows us to see clearly which parts may need a little TLC. It also allows for strong spring growth and hopefully plenty of delicious fruits come autumn!

Walking through Jemima’s Kitchen Garden at this time of year, you will notice the beautiful frost-covered seed heads, the statuesque remains of last year’s flowers and plenty of leaf piles. The permaculture ethos means that we try not to intervene, leaving the garden as nature would intend. This is not just for the wild aesthetic; it is to support all of the wildlife that is overwintering in the garden which is crucial for the balance.

In the quiet winter months you can hear birdsong – be it robins marking out their territories or the remarkably loud call of the tiny wren. You may even notice the ground feeders scavenging through the leaf piles on the ground looking for food. Winter is subtle. What would seem like a season that is static, there is actually a lot going on behind the scenes in the natural world, as well as in the gardening world. This time of year we are starting to sow heat-loving vegetables that take a long time to grow such as tomatoes, aubergines and chillies. The Greenhouses are filled with winter salads and the hardy brassicas outside still stand tall in the harsh winter weather. Horticultural fleece can be a huge asset to crops at this time of year as they give that little bit of extra protection, meaning that you can extend your growing season by quite a lot.”

 

If you’re staying during the winter months, be sure to enjoy a wildlife walk through Asher’s Woodland Trails. Our Walled Garden, where Jemima’s Kitchen Garden is located, reopens in spring 2022.

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